Lawrence County deputies will be out in full force as part of the annual, nationwide St. Patrick’s Day Holiday “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” substance–impaired driving crackdown. The crackdown, which will include high-visibility enforcement throughout Lawrence County, will run March 17-20. The nationwide substance–impaired driving crackdown will include high-visibility enforcement and high-profile events and will be supported by national paid advertising, creating a comprehensive campaign to curb substance–impaired driving over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office said its deputies will be aggressively looking for substance–impaired drivers during the crackdown and will arrest anyone caught driving impaired. Although it is illegal in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to drive impaired (having a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 or higher), far too many people across the nation get behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol. The latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration underscore the serious nature of the nation’s continuing drunk-driving epidemic. “Every year, about one third of all motor vehicle traffic deaths involve one or more substance-impaired drivers or motorcycle operators,” Sheriff Brad DeLay said. “In 2015, 163 people were killed and 575 seriously injured on Missouri’s roadways in crashes that involved at least one substance-impaired driver.” That works out to about one fatality every two days involving a substance-impaired driver. DeLay said the St. Patrick’s Day holiday is particularly dangerous. During the holiday weekend from March 14-17, 2015, two people were killed and seven seriously injured involving at least one substance-impaired driver. “Research has shown that high-visibility enforcement like the ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign reduces substance–impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. By joining this nationwide effort, we will make Lawrence County’s roadways safer for everyone throughout the holiday,” DeLay said. “We want to remind everyone that getting behind the wheel impaired is a terrible idea. Unfortunately, not only does being under the influence impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely, it also impairs your judgment and good sense about whether you can or should drive. If you have any doubt about your sobriety, do not get behind the wheel. If you do chose to drive impaired, you will be arrested. No warnings. No excuses,” he said. DeLay noted that being arrested for driving under the influence of any substance brings a range of negative consequences into one’s life. Substance–impaired drivers face jail time, loss of their driver’s licenses and steep financial consequences such as higher insurance rates, attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work and the potential loss of job. When family, friends and co-workers find out, violators often face tremendous personal embarrassment. “Driving while impaired is simply not worth the risk, so don’t take the chance. Remember, we will be out in force and we will be watching, so ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,’” DeLay said. For more information, visit the campaign headquarters at www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov orwww.saveMOlives.com.